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See Where It All Began

Goal and Purposes of the Marianist Founders Seminar

The Marianist Founders Seminar is an opportunity for mid-career, tenured faculty and professional staff to study the Marianist tradition and spirituality, which dwell at the heart of the foundation and mission of the University of Dayton.  Using their own fields of expertise, a cohort of “Founders Scholars” will enter into a three-phase process of discovery, learning, and action. 

Specific objectives of the program are:

  • To provide the opportunity for deep reflection and implementation of Marianist educational philosophy for faculty and staff university-wide in order to align our academic culture more fully with our Marianist foundations.
  • To serve as a conceptual resource for scholarly research and collaboration across academic units, with a focus on history and tradition.
  • To provide an integrated professional development experience across units that promotes discussion among fields of knowledge, both theoretical and practical, and allows for discussions that take into account belief systems of participants and the Marianist founding tradition. 
  • To build a strong network of engaged faculty and staff who will champion curricular, co-curricular  and pedagogical developments that integrate the Marianist traditions and heritage of the university.
  • To connect more meaningfully with Marianists throughout the University of Dayton campus and Marianist communities abroad.
  • To advance dialogue between faith and reason, and to use newly created partnerships to continue to deepen and expand our Catholic and Marianist commitment to work in community and serve the changing needs of our world.

Phases of the Seminar

Phase One: Study and Reflection

During the first phase, participants will spend the spring semester meeting regularly in a seminar format with the University of Dayton assistant rector, Fr. Joseph Kozar, S.M..  The seminar will study the history of the Marianist Founders, the context of their work, and their focus on education and implications for the work of Marianist education today.  Using their own fields of knowledge and research interest, each member of the cohort will present a session that explicates and initiates discussion on an aspect of Marianist history.

Primary topics of discussion will include:

  • The context of France during and after the French Revolution: Social change as the crucible for the Marianist movement
  • Enlightenment ideas and their social implications
  • Revolution and exile: Social and religious change in the 1790s, the formative matrix for the Marianist movement
  • Lives of Father Chaminade, Sister Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Marie-Thérèse de Lamourous: Understanding the role and significance of the three founders in the Marianist movement
  • Structuring a new society: Initiatives of the Marianist movement that continue today

Seminar participants will be reading from two primary texts: Origins of the Marianist Family by Eduardo Benlloch, S.M. and Chaminade’s Bordeaux by E. Weltz.  Other texts will be referenced as well as primary source materials.  Guest speakers from the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS), vowed Marianist religious, or former Seminar participants may be invited to join the discussions.

Phase Two: Marianist Pilgrimage

During the second phase of the Marianist Founders’ Seminar, the cohort will take part in a roughly two-week Marianist pilgrimage in France and Spain.  Travel arrangements will be coordinated through the Office of the Provost. As a result of this tour, participants will appreciate better the historical circumstances of the Marianist founders, their interactions with the challenges of the French Revolution, and the resulting Marianist movement.  The main focus of the pilgrimage will be an academic exploration of Marianist history. 

Participants will travel to Paris, Bordeaux, and other significant Marianist historical places.  Arrangements will be made to visit key Marianist communities in the region. The seminar will also explore the historical sites associated with the Marianist founders:  Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, Blesssed Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon and Marie-Thérèse de Lamourous. The tour will also visit the site of Chaminade’s founding vision – the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain.

Learn more about Marianist Heritage and the Founders Seminar

Phase Three: Assessment and Implementation

During the third and final phase of the program participants will reconvene during the fall semester to discuss the significance of the seminar.  Working with the Office for Mission and Rector, participants will plan a series of meetings to propose individual and group initiatives (course development, curriculum enhancement, open forums, etc.) that concretely express the knowledge and expertise gained through participation in the Marianist Founders’ Seminar. After these initiatives have been presented to the group for discussion and revision, participants will implement them in their respective units.  Participants will write a final report which will be filed with the Office of the Provost after their project has been successfully completed.

Responsibilities, Process and Timeline


Faculty and staff participants are expected to attend all seminar sessions in the period of study and reflection, be available for travel in the summer, and devote time and attention to implementing self-designed mission and identity projects over the following year. Participants will be asked to identify in advance at least one specific audience they will engage upon their return.  This interaction may take the form of a formal presentation, an open dialogue/forum, or other personal interaction.  A written report of the interaction should be included as part of the final report to be filed with the Office of the Provost.


A cohort of 8-10 recently tenured to mid-career faculty and staff members will be selected from academic units.

Key Dates & Timeline

Selection for each cohort will take place in the fall semester prior to the summer of travel.  Interested faculty members should notify their respective Dean of their interest in participating in the seminar.  At this time, we are unable to plan travel due to the ongoing pandemic. We will update this page when we know more. 

Study & Reflection

A period of study and reflection consisting of six meetings in a seminar format will take place in the spring semester prior to travel.  The next Marianist Pilgrimage travel dates will be confirmed in the near future.


Office for Mission and Rector

St. Mary's Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1638
Office of the Rector